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Feature Review: Procurex Scotland 2018 & GO Awards 2018/19

Friday October 26th, 2018

Hosted by STV’s Rona Dougall at Glasgow’s SEC exhibition centre (October 23rd), this year’s event included 25 training sessions amid a variety of networking opportunities for all 1,500 delegates. Those in attendance were treated to a stellar lineup featuring Fife Council executive Keith Winter, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Far Work & Skills Jamie Hepburn MSP and ex-SAS superstar Ant Middleton. 14th Procurex Conference at the SEC, Glasgow

Key Highlights:

Jamie Hepburn MSP – Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills:

“Scottish procurement is the most transparent in the world” the cabinet minister boldly stated in front of conference delegates. Championing a Scottish Government procurement policy based on “kindness”, he broke down the public sector in to a system of “simply giving people what they want” which is the government’s “number one priority”, he said.

Hepburn then described the policy Fair Work First as the “default position of the Scottish Government”. Fair Work First is a set of government criteria which looks to extend government contracts and grants to companies which invest in skills and training, pay employees the Real Living Wage, do not use zero-hour contracts and practice workforce engagement. Jamie Hepburn has played a pivotal role in the roll out of this initiative since its inception in 2016.

In a collaborative reach out to the private and third sectors, the MSP pondered “is there more we can do to work closer together? Let’s not be risk averse. The public think more can be done locally with suppliers and we agree”. Hepburn encouraged businesses to consider the welfare of local communities and the environment, as he set out the government’s long-term aims, which included tacking inequality and the closing of the gender pay gap.

The cabinet minister also set out radical proposals to cut down on disabled unemployment and provide more opportunities for those from BAME groups so to “create a more balanced and diverse workforce that benefits everyone”.

14th Procurex Conference at the SEC, Glasgow

Keith Winter – Fife Council Executive Director of Environment, Enterprise and Communities:

Keith Winter was full of praise for the warm words from Jamie Hepburn. Lauding a people first approach which focuses on “social justice”, Winter singled out the 2011 introduction of the Real Living Wage for praise, as he admitted that procurement can “be too brutal in its focus on price and cost”.

He did however admit that there is room for improvement where the Scottish Government is concerned. He explained that digital portals could be simplified to help councils, paving the way for more “dynamic and effective activity”. He also shared his thoughts on local procurement, saying politicians place importance on a “local first approach”, although he believed this is less of a priority as he welcomed the fact 33% of Scottish procurement takes place outside Scotland, calling for a more globalised strategy moving forward.

Winter stated “procurement is a major tool for economic growth” – highlighting that 15,000 businesses benefit from the work of Scottish councils every year. With procurement spend now at £7bn per year, it is clear now that local government plays a crucial role in the public sector, accounting for £2bn local spend together with an overall annual council income of £15bn, Winter explained.

Ant Middleton – Adventurer

A packed conference hall was in attendance to see headline act Ant Middleton, star of Channel 4’s  ‘Who Dares Wins’. His keynote speech focused on two key areas: mindset and leadership.      14th Procurex Conference at the SEC, Glasgow
Reflecting on various hardships that he has overcome in his life – family issues, unemployment and two tours in Afghanistan – the ex-soldier emphasised his major tool has always been his “golden nugget” where a positive mindset has proven to be his best weapon in any negative situation.

Referring to the lessons in leadership he learned from his military days, he explained how “leadership is fluid; there is no set mould” – in which people can fit in position to benefit the whole team.

He also stressed that people’s weaknesses must not be underestimated as they can be used by leaders as a challenge to overcome, thus helping someone progress towards their goal.

Go Awards 2018/19:

Afterwards Glasgow’s Marriot Hotel played host to the prestigious GO Awards Scotland 2018.

Hosted by BBC Scotland’s Catriona Renton, over 500 delegates from the world of Scottish public procurement were present, as each went head-to-head in their pursuit of a coveted GO Award.

The winners were announced in the following categories:GO Awards at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow

  • GO Best Service Award: Medium & Large Organisations – Warmworks Scotland
  • GO Best Service Award: Micro and Small Businesses and Third Sector Organisations – Re-Tek UK Ltd
  • GO Infrastructure Project of the Year Award – Transport Scotland (For entry: Forth Replacement Crossing)
  • GO Procurement Innovation of the Year Award: Taking the procurement function forward – University of Strathclyde, DHI, NHS NSS, Scottish Government
  • GO Procurement Leadership of the Year Award – Angus Council
  • GO Procurement Project of the &ear award (above £20m value) – Police Scotland
  • GO Procurement Project of the Year award (sub-£20m value) – Renfrewshire Council
  • GO Procurement Team of the Year Award: Central Government & Healthcare Organisations – NHS Scotland National Procurement Equipping Sourcing Team, working with NSS Health Facilities Scotland Equipping Team
  • GO Procurement Team of the Year Award: Local Government & Other Organisations – University of Strathclyde
  • GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award Other Organisations – University of Edinburgh
  • GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award: Central Government & Local Authorities – Scottish Government – SG Procurement, Contract Management & Capability Team
  • GO Emerging Procurement Talent Award – Scotland Excel
  • GO Excellence Scotland Award 2018/19 – Transport Scotland (For entry: Forth Replacement Crossing)

Grahame Steed, Business Intelligence and eSourcing Director at BiP Solutions (event organiser), said:

“It’s been another tremendous year for Go Awards Scotland, with many new entrants and returning organisations playing their part in driving up standards and innovation within public procurement. Well done to each of our finalists and congratulations to those who have received one of the highly coveted GO Awards trophies – we look forward to even more competition next year!”

For more infromation about Procurex Scotland 2019 please visit

Lewis McCathie

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